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I’ve been running a small beef jerky subscription company for the past two years. For the most part, I’ve used it as a marketing sandbox to play with unique growth tactics.
A few weeks back I decided to attempt an experiment to see if I could manufacture virality.
While it’s still underway, I thought it would be helpful to share my steps and success thus far in case it’s helpful for others:
I’m calling this experiment “vegan therapy”. It’s sorta a reverse marketing campaign.
The idea was to promote the company to the wrong audience, which in my case that’s vegans. The premise being that, “It’s ok to cheat with meat”, somehow suggesting that there is this legion of vegans that secretly want to eat meat, but don’t want to be caught doing so.
For the record, I do understand that it’s an absurd notion.
I’ve been using the tagline, “Ashley Madison for Vegans” and built the creative for the ad around their “iconic” image. Replacing the shushing finger with a beef stick.
Obviously I really didn’t think that I’d be able to “convert” vegans into meat eaters, but that wasn’t the intention of the campaign. It was to ignite a flame within a passionate community and allow the debate to catch the attention of my true customer.

Here are the steps I’ve taken:
  1. I started by testing this out with an inexpensive promoted ad on Reddit. Total cost was roughly $8.00 and I ended up gaining 2 new subscribers (which wasn’t even the objective). Here’s a screenshot of the ad I ran https://puu.sh/uV4YD/7da4518533.png

I would have continued, but Reddit cut me off and would no longer allow me to target the r/vegan subreddit.

  1. With the success of that experiment, I moved over to Facebook. I set a budget of $20/day and targeted both vegan and vegetarian interests. I directed the ad to a content landing page that I built specifically for vegans.
  2. Once I had enough engagement likes, negative comments and feedback, I reduced my spend to $10/day and I began to reach out to media. Here’s the actual ad: https://www.facebook.com/notdickinab…/posts/1808913495789563
  3. I compiled a list of 15 publications/journalists that I felt were most likely to write about a campaign like this. My two points of criteria were: 1. They had covered obscure trending topics in the past and 2. They liked to eat meat (had to roll the dice with a few of them).
  4. I sent them an email (read: “tip”) from a phantom account I already had. Positioned myself as their reader and someone who just discovered something that was going to pop. (If you want to see the email I sent, let me know in the comments).
  5. Changed the targeting of my FB ad, removed vegans as an interest and moved to “hunting” as an interest.
  6. Created a second target of just journalists (by job role) and people that work for specific media companies.

 

Results so far:

After spending $158 in total:
Reddit:
263 clicks, 0 PR, 2 Conversions
Facebook:
518 clicks, 1 article, 4 Conversions
PR:
Out of the 15 journalists, one has converted into an article thus far. http://www.foodbeast.com/news/beef-jerky-ashley-madison/
From an ROI perspective based on LTV I’m ahead, but my goal isn’t for a few sales here and there, it’s to manufacture nationwide buzz.
I’m not sure if it will work or not, but it sure has some people fired up:https://twitter.com/LuxAlptraum/status/846029216546263040
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